What to do When You’ve Forgotten Your Business Cards

It wasn’t until I was already on the plane and ready for takeoff that I remembered that the business cards I ordered (on rush so that they would show up on time) were left behind on my desk!  

AAAAAAAHHHHHHGGGGG!  If I could have screamed on this plane I would have done it.  Except that it was about five in the morning and I was squeezed like a sardine in the center seat of a packed flight.  But you can just imagine what my eyes looked like when I realized that I’d left behind my business cards that I was going to use at an event to drive people to my “new and improved” web site.  RATS!

Now what?

Well, there wasn’t much I could do about having just left all my business cards on my desk at this point.  The best course of action was to start figuring out an alternate solution.

Why did I want the cards anyway?

The first place I started thinking (since that’s all I could do at the time) was why I wanted the cards in the first place.  Why were they so important? The answer was that I wanted to have people meet me and go to my web site, register and hopefully buy something.

What’s possible now that I’m not tied to business cards?

This is where it really gets fun.  When the possibility of just handing out business cards was taken away – something very interesting opened up — other creative possibilities that only required the use of my cell phone or ipad.

  1. Email marketing system.  My first option was to create a form inside of my email marketing system where I would create a list called “NYXPO 2012” and add the people who I met on the list!  Then I could send them emails and move that relationship forward.
  2. Card Munch.  This is a great app that allows me to take pictures of other people’s cards and have them imported into my contacts almost immediately.  BRILLIANT!  The best is that Card Munch is owned by LinkedIn, so instead of waiting to get that connection going when you return to work, you can do it right there!
  3. Take a picture.  If you don’t want to use Card Munch – you could just take a picture – that will certainly do the trick.

Get even MORE Proactive and Creative

There’s one thing wrong with the solutions I just gave you — they are still passive enough where you can get the person’s information and NOT do anything about it.  What would be MORE creative and create a feedback system where you could trigger a conversation with the people you met?

Create a survey on your mobile device or iPad using SurveyPocket

One piece of advice that I always give is to go to any event or trade show with a purpose — an objective.  I mean the primary advantage of going to an event is that you’ll see a specific segment of people all in one place.  It would cost you thousands and take forever to see them all one at a time.   And just think about the number of people you talk to at a conference event or trade show!  Tons – right!

Put a survey in your pocket

You’re going to think I’m crazy here…but why not go to an event as an attendee, but run a marketing campaign?  There’s no booth, no fuss, no muss – just a pure campaign that you can create and structure to run on a completely mobile level.

Here are some ideas…

  1. Come up with a concept for which you want to gather data or create some kind of report or infographic.  Brainstorm some interesting facts or characteristics that conference attendees might be interested in and tie them to your product or service.
  2. Create a super short survey or maybe a poll.  You can use the SurveyPocket app from QuestionPro.
  3. You  might decide to come up with a contest or drawing that will serve as an incentive to the attendees to participate in your survey.
  4. As you interact with people at the event, tell them what you’re working on.  Ask them to click through your survey or poll and don’t forget to grab their email address at the end.  This way they can be entered into a contest or receive the report (or both)

I realize this isn’t as easy as handing out a business card.  But building relationships that turn into profitable customers or opportunities isn’t supposed to be easy — but it can be fun and interactive.  Give this a shot at your next event!

What are some creative things you’ve done when you’ve forgotten your business cards?

Ivana Taylor is the publisher of DIYMarketers and the President of Third Force, a strategic marketing firm. She's the marketing expert and book editor for Small Business Trends and a frequent contributor to AMEX Open Forum.

Posted in Essay, marketing strategy
4 comments on “What to do When You’ve Forgotten Your Business Cards
  1. Clever responses that covered the absence of business cards.

  2. Frank Paiano says:

    Business Cards are nice because you can communicate with people directly about your website, but Internet Marketing can be a very useful tool, as well. It’s been a success with me so far!

  3. Tod Deskin says:

    So, why don’t we follow up? How often after an event have you found yourself with a dozen or more business cards only to put them in or on your desk to collect dust. Weeks may go by before you look at them again and forget who they are or where you met them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Get Embed With Us

March 18th, 11am PST / 2pm EST

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 16,827 other followers

Follow us on Twitter

FREE Training

Weekly Training Webinar
Seating is Limited!

%d bloggers like this: